Sharpening Woodturning Tools – How Sharp Is Sharp Enough

Many beginning woodturners and also some experienced ones are confused over the question of sharpening their tools, specifically wondering how sharp an instrument needs to be. This is commonly further confused by the tendency for woodworkers to not restrict themselves to only one kind of woodworking. In other words a woodturner could find themselves at the wood lathe 1 hour and utilizing a hand plane or perhaps a wood chisel another. Now the question becomes whether the lathe tool has to be as sharp because the hand tool. how to clean wax off wood The answer may lie in taking into consideration the kind of wood and work each will do.

Hand planes were created for removing wood leaving as smooth as surface as you possibly can. They move across boards that are progressively flatter and flatter as well as smoother and smoother and will leave a surface only as fine as the edge on their blade. Furthermore, they are propelled with the motion of arms and hands and cover a reasonably small area in a comparatively large segment of time compared with a wood lathe.

The wood that planes use is normally fairly clear with few knots and irregularities. It has additionally been brought to a spot of relative flatness and finish prior to the planes start their work. Hand planes are really the finish tools of the modern cabinet maker. As such they need a very fine edge that leaves a finished surface ready for fine sandpaper or perhaps a cabinet scraper.

Woodturning tools on the other hand will be the roughing tolls of the woodturner as well as the finishing tools. They will attack a rough piece of wood which could include bark complete with grit from felling on the woodland floor, all kinds of knots that add character to the finished piece as well as cross grain and bark inclusions found in many burls. An excellent edge will last only seconds instead of minutes in such circumstances.

In addition, a wood lathe moves the material so quickly that the fine edge of a wood plane would dull rapidly under the friction of the movement. Rather a more robust, thicker edge is needed. Rather than the edge from water stones and leather strops, the rougher edge from the grinding wheel is sufficient for the woodturner.

Grinders using eighty grit aluminum oxide wheels will leave an advantage that is sufficiently strong and sharp enough to eliminate lots of wood and last well. The top that is left out is ready for sanding or scraping. In fact, many spindle turners will use a skew chisel to leave a surface that won’t need any sanding or only that of papers greater than two hundred grit of finer. Some bowl turners use scrapers with a fine edge to attain similar results.

The answer to the question of how sharp is sharp enough is really the sharpness that works for the various tools and the work at hand. It’ll vary for the tool used however the end results speak for themselves.

Darrell Feltmate is a juried wood turner whose site, Around the Woods, contains detailed information regarding wood turning for the novice or experienced turner as well as a collection of turnings for your viewing pleasure. You too can figure out how to turn wood, here is the place to begin. Wondering what it appears like? There are lots of free videos on the site dealing with everything from sharpening to creating a bowl.
For full instruction in getting your tools sharp and in particular how to make an extremely inexpensive sharpening jig, have a look at making and utilizing the sharpening jig. Using only short time, some shop scraps and several dollars you can create a jig that will perform like a hundred dollar tool and easily sharpen your wood lathe tools.